31 (Lexi and Link)

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(This is the story of Akela's parents. This chapter contains all the details Sam did not bring back from his trip.)

20 years earlier.

"Lexi! where have you been?" a strict voice called out as Lexi returned home from her duties around the pack territory.

"Perimeter check, father," Lexi replied with her usual respectfully bowed head.

Her father sighed deeply.

"Well... clean up. Dress nicely. A foreign Alpha is looking for a mate," the older lycan said and walked off, towards the community hall.

Lexi went to her childhood home and shifted before washing her body. Her long hair could do with a wash but as her father told her to hurry she settled for swiping it into a tidy ponytail before dressing in one of her few summer dresses.

As an afterthought she hurriedly packed a bag of essentials in case she was chosen. Her perimeter checks had taken longer than normal because she had come across the scent of a foreigner. A scent that had her mindlessly rubbing herself on the tree where she found it before she caught herself. The Delta Prime's daughter should not be found coating herself in a strangers scent.

But the feeling that scent had woken was unlike anything she had ever felt before. As if her fate was close.

Carefully she filled the bag with a few of her modest possessions, a change of clothes and a couple of books to read would suffice. Silently she hoped her mate was a reader too. Someone with a library in his pack would be nice. Her father often sneered at her "human" liking of stories, but for Lexi, they provided an escape from the rigid rules of his parenting.

There was a time she had hoped her mother would return, but her father had laughed and told her that the unreliable Cizinec bitch had been banished from every pack she had ever been part of. So Lexi had hidden her mother's name in her heart and never mentioned her again. Her smile tugged at her lips. Perhaps this foreigner with the delicious scent knew where she had gone? Maybe he would help look for her?

Carefully she left the bag in the hallway, in case she was chosen by this mysterious stranger. Her father had said Alpha. Perhaps he was her mate? She could be a luna.

Lexi chuckled at her own dreams. The scent was probably one of his guard deltas.

The weird thing was that there had only been one scent trail. Whoever it was had come alone.

Self-consciously she entered the great hall of the community building, stopping a second to inhale another whiff of the same strong scent. Her eyes scanned the crowd. The hall was filled with pack members. Gathered along the wall stood the unmated females of the pack. On the raised dais, sat the Alpha and Luna, flanked by the Beta and her father, the Delta Prime.

Lexi approached, bowed formally to the leader before she walked to where the rest of the young girls were. Several of them were focused on a corner, some twirling hair and posing flirtily.

Lexi had no patience with the false niceties, but her curiosity was awakened. She turned her head to the corner by the Beta and her breath left her.

A broad-shouldered soldier was staring straight at her. His blue-grey eyes shone out from under his ash blonde hair. Lexi held back a gasp as their eyes met and she saw his eyes widen. She could practically feel his growl building.

The Beta spoke, interrupting the connection. The soldier looked at the floor, breaking their link before he replied with a nod.

The Beta stood, tapping his cane on the floorboards for attention and the hum of conversation died down.

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